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Implementation Change Management

Change Management

‘People Complexity’ Can Require a Special Roadmap

The DMAIC toolkit is excellent for solving technical complexity problems. However, Lean Six Sigma tools are not as adept at helping solve problems of high 'people complexity.' The solution is an integrated DMIAC/change management roadmap.

12 Tips for a More Motivated Team and Better Results

Follow these tips to incorporate motivation at all phases of an improvement project in order to ensure passionate teams and management buy-in, along with better business results.

A Project Charter Communication Strategy Is Essential

Six Sigma professionals must establish a communication plan when developing and validating a team charter. A finely executed Black Belt project can suffer disappointing results if an efficient mechanism is not already in place to ensure that vital information is relayed to those members who need it.

Ask the Expert: Six Sigma – The Way We Work

Mike Carnell, Six Sigma Program Manager for BHP Billiton Base Metals, offers his views on Six Sigma as the way we work. He discusses the possibilities and problems of completely institutionalizing Six Sigma in an organization’s processes.

Ask the Expert: The Topic – Six Sigma Adoption and Cultural Issues

Jack Finney, president and CEO of Six Sigma Academy, offers his perspective on Six Sigma adoption and cultural issues – from strategies to convince resistant employees to maintaining a positive culture as the initiative matures and employees turn over.

Ask the Expert: The Topic – Six Sigma and Employees

Barbara Wheat, executive director of Six Sigma for Tenneco-Automotive, offers her views on Six Sigma and employees. She discusses a variety of ideas on communications, but her best advice about what to tell employees is: The truth.

Basic Strategies for Avoiding and Overcoming Resistance

Every company runs into resistance that can slow down, or even rail, a new Lean Six Sigma initiative. That is why part of every executive's repertoire needs to be the knowledge, skills and tools to minimize the occurrence and impact of resistance.

Building Team Consensus

Consensus building is needed to help the team determine the relative importance of topics, issues or problems. Consensus is a technique that allows everyone on the team to equally play an active role in determining the group's final decision.

Business Belt: Integrating Six Sigma and Business Sense

The Black Belt as an individual contributor applying Six Sigma tools and techniques is insufficient to provide the change leadership businesses require. A successful Black Belt must inspire people to adopt Six Sigma tools into daily business operations.


It’s common for me to have conversations about how to motivate people to accept change. For those of us who are early adopters, it’s not a problem; we kinda like doing something new. But, from those whose favorite radio station…

Catalyzing Change: A Turnaround Success

Given a dire situation, a change management process is clearly required. A haphazard attack on many issues can exacerbate the problem. Kotter's Eight-Stage Process of Creating Change was used as the guide to induce the re-invention of a team and business processes in this real-world transformation that saved a company.

Change Anything in Your Business or Personal Life [VIDEO] – With Ron McMillan

Ron McMillan is one of the authors of the book “Change Anything,” which introduces a framework to help you achieve any of your business or personal goals by: becoming a scientist, studying yourself, identifying crucial moments where you fail, creating vital behaviors, and engaging in six sources of influence.

Change Dynamics: Prepare for Optimal Buy-in

Why is change so difficult? The answer lies in how people are innately hardwired and how that hardwiring affects how they accept and buy-in to change. By recognizing these differences, it is possible to make change a more comfortable experience.

Coach-like Mentors Achieve Greater Effectiveness

As a mentor, Black Belts have the experience and the map – but it can also pay off to experiment with the value of being a coach-like mentor. Using a coaching perspective will increase the effectiveness of the team and the impact of the solutions.

Combine an Improvement Initiative with Change Management

New to change management? This overview describes the phases of change management and how they line up with the phases of process improvement.

Communication Strategies for Six Sigma Initiatives, Part 2

More than 60 percent of change initiatives fail, due in part to the absence of organizational acceptance. Building Six Sigma acceptance begins with the development of solid communication strategies.

Converting Skeptics and Keeping Them On Board

Six Sigma has grown in popularity, yet it still has detractors. These skeptics are people who feel burdened by the disruption Six Sigma has caused in their work life. It is up to managers to face the skeptics and set the right tone for a deployment.

Demonstrating Chart Turnaround Success Gains Buy-in

A lack of buy-in is most common in organizations that are new to Six Sigma. How can practitioners sell Six Sigma? It is simple – by setting up a demonstration case of successful use. This approach emphasizes the “seeing is believing” mode of selling.

Developing Black Belt Change Agents

Black Belts and Change Agents should know how to survive 'Pity City' and the 'Valley of Despair.' Learn to navigate the issues associated with change and improvement projects from two experts on this subject.

Developing Change Leadership by Leveraging Experience

A limiting factor in many efforts to effect organizational change is having enough talent to replicate, sustain and expand initial change efforts. A change leadership program allows companies to develop sufficient change leaders from their own ranks.

Displaying Project Storyboards Reenergizes Effort

Focus employee opinion on the benefits of Lean Six Sigma by highlighting process improvement successes through project storyboard displays.

Driving Six Sigma Success Without Top-level Support

If practitioners are having trouble attracting executive backing for Six Sigma, there are four steps that can help point a deployment in the right direction.

Enabling Culture Change in Healthcare with Six Sigma

One of the most significant benefits of Six Sigma is also one of the most difficult to quantify It is the "people value" – that is, the positive effect that an implementation can have on a company's culture and on the development of leaders.

Facilitation: A Critical Soft Skill For Success

The soft skills of facilitating a group are one of the most important skills that need to be mastered for the successful achievement of tangible results. Most examples are merely platitudes; this article provides a real-world case study and examples.

Finding the Balance Between Leadership and Management

Are you failing to sustain your gains? Your deployment may be over-managed and under-led.

Focus on Employees to Improve Healthcare Bottom Line

High job satisfaction produces employees who work harder, smarter and have better relations with customers. Healthcare clients are pleased with exceptional care and positive interactions with employees. And that can mean a better bottom line.

Four Questions to Address As a Lean Six Sigma Business Matures

As a business matures in its deployment of LSS, four questions emerge that deserve attention at all levels of the organization.

From the Bottom Up: Grassroots Effort Finds Footing at Chevron

Originally published in iSixSigma Magazine's Sept/Oct 2008 issue, this is the story of how Six Sigma at Chevron grew from a grassroots business unit deployment to the standard continuous improvement program for Chevron's Global Upstream division, which comprises more than two-thirds of the energy giant.

Gain Support with Organizational Improvement Strategy

To complete organizational improvement, leadership must tie their efforts to a strategic initiative. By adopting an approach that narrows the focus first to critical areas of the organization, they can use Lean Six Sigma to drive quick results.

Gain Support with Straight Talk and Exit Strategy Tools

To make lasting impact, practitioners must develop widespread understanding and support. Two tools – straight talk and exit strategy – used in the Define stage can help Belts get their projects off the ground and ensure they stay within scope.

Healthcare Quality Initiatives: The Role of Leadership

A panel of healthcare executives recently shared their views that leaders must take an active and visible role in their organization’s quality initiatives. They also agreed on the need for organizations to develop the right management systems.

How Six Sigma Adds Value in an Existing Quality Culture

In a conversation with iSixSigma, Dr. Randall W. Powell, vice president of Eastman Chemical Company, Europe/Middle East/Africa, offers his views on how Six Sigma adds value to an existing quality culture.

How to Turn Resistance into Support for Lean Six Sigma

While some resistance to change is inevitable, there are ways for Lean Six Sigma project teams to accelerate change through best practices using tactical tools to gain acceptance, change old habits and increase the company's bottom line.

How to Win Support for Continuous Improvement Programs and Projects

Gaining support to implement and sustain a continuous improvement program is an oft-voiced concern of Lean Six Sigma practitioners. Learn three keys for successfully gaining buy-in.

Improving Health

often try to lower healthcare expenses by sponsoring wellness programs. How effective are these programs?

Integrating Lean Six Sigma into Culture Is Like a Merger

While it is essential for a company to create familiarity with Lean and Six Sigma disciplines by training its employees, it is even more important to integrate Lean Six Sigma into its change culture.

Integrating Quality With Integrity

Making the connection to employee personal integrity may be the key to operationalizing quality in daily activities.

Keep It Super Simple: Five Steps of KISS

Complex topics can be fully understood by everyone when practitioners adhere to the principle of "keep it super simple," or KISS.

Keeping Up with Change: A Three Dimensional View

In today’s business world, change is the only thing that is consistent. To successfully implement change within an organization, it is necessary to consider several factors: the reason for change, its effects and the environment where it is made.

Knowledge Transfer Is the Key to Lean Six Sigma Culture

Whether a company uses consultants to execute Lean Six Sigma or has trained its own experts, certain things must be done to move from a Lean capacity to a Lean culture. Knowledge transfer may be the most important.

Leadership and Lean Six Sigma

Is leadership from the bottom-up better than top-down? How can employees convince and excite their leaders about the opportunities waiting for them with a Lean Six Sigma deployment?

Lean Six Sigma Can Serve as a Change Management Tool

Lean Six Sigma will facilitate the changes that it requires, while also preparing users for other change initiatives within an organization. As such, a Six Sigma deployment enables, rather than impedes, simultaneous change initiatives.

Make It a Team Effort: Involving Employees Can Lead to Lasting Solutions

A transactional process improvement case study offers guidance for engaging stakeholders in each stage of a project.

Making Good Change Agents: Attitude, Knowledge, Skills

What makes a good change agent? When assessing potential candidates, three questions need to be asked: Do they have the right attitude? Do they possess the appropriate knowledge? And do they master necessary skills?

Making the Journey Toward Culture Change in Healthcare

Healthcare leaders are recognizing the need for culture change within their organizations. Moving from recognition to reality, however, is more difficult. The problem lies in the perception – or misperception – of what culture change actually entails.

Manager’s Guide: Fostering Success with Lean Six Sigma

Managers play a key role in building a successful Lean Six Sigma organization. They must create and foster an environment that sets the stage for employee success. Six essential factors can guide managers towards a thriving Lean Six Sigma program.

Managing Change to a Continuously Improving Culture

Instead of rewarding those ready to change and discouraging those who fight change, organizations establishing a culture of continuous process improvement should focus on moving the largest group, the neutrals, toward supporting the change.

Managing Performance Factors: A Sample Checklist

In the May/June issue of iSixSigma Magazine, the article, "Taking the Next Step: How to Eliminate Errors for Good," offers an approach for managing human performance factors in an effort improve processes in service organizations.

Managing Six Sigma Change Resistance

A critical component of any successful Six Sigma project is overcoming resistance to change. The reason: Without user acceptance, any process improvement is doomed to fail. Therefore, proper anticipation and understanding the approaches to various resistance tactics is essential to success.

Managing the Executives for Lean Six Sigma Success

Deployment leaders must not only manage Green Belts, Black Belts and projects, they have to manage the executives – while allowing the executives to think that they are the ones doing the managing.

Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges with Future-ready Reengineering

Nobody knows what the future holds, but a shared uncertainty about tomorrow creates a forward-leaning opportunity for reinvention. Future-ready reengineering helps companies move from doing what is most effective today to meeting tomorrow’s challenges.

Meeting Action Item Planning Worksheet

Ensure project progress by assigning and tracking follow-up action items and tasks. Use this free meeting action item planning worksheet.

Meeting Facilitation: Important Ingredient for Change

A significant amount of time is invested in meetings. Whether one-on-one or in larger groups, meetings offer a chance to discuss ideas, share solutions and reach consensus. Unfortunately, time can be wasted without the use of a few basic techniques.

My Business Is Different, Six Sigma Won’t Work

If you think Six Sigma won't work for your company, you are either ignorant or refuse to change. Every business process can be measured, improved and controlled using the Six Sigma methodology.

Not Just Statistics: Implementing the Cultural Change

It is not just the Black Belts who combine project roles with the cultivation of the culture change that takes place when Six Sigma is deployed. The entire organization is impacted by the culture change, and there are lessons to learn.

Organizing Your Quality Life

Getting your quality life in order is no easy task. But just as we teach our businesses that processes are necessary to increase productivity, effectiveness and efficiency, we too must have processes to control our daily work lives. Here are some useful quality processes.

Overcoming Initial Resistance to Six Sigma

Resistance to Six Sigma implementation is quite common in spite of the inordinate amount of time and effort we spend trying to convince managers otherwise. To combat the onslaught of business complaints are a list of realities that should help you in your day-to-day activities.

Overcoming the Barriers to Change in Healthcare System

Though debate over specific solutions may continue, there seems to be widespread consensus for changes in healthcare in the United States to address inconsistencies in quality and efficiency. So what is keeping these changes from happening?

Overcoming the Challenges to Project Realization

For many Six Sigma practitioners in transactional environments, simply handing off the project does not guarantee that the gains will be realized. A number of techniques can help overcome obstacles and bring a Six Sigma project to realization.

Pace of Six Sigma Teams Differs Dramatically by Culture

Six Sigma project teams from different countries will approach and complete projects in their own way and at damatically different paces. This is valuable for the management of multinationals to understand so realistic expectations are set.

Presentation Development/Delivery Tips for Six Sigma

Six Sigma practitioners must, from time to time, make everyone from process owners to boards of directors. Unfortunately not many are taught presentation techniques. So here are some suggestions for improving those presentations.

Preventing Conflicts Through Stakeholder Management

Not every improvement project needs a formalized approach to identify, analyze and plan communications with stakeholders, but mobilizing key individuals is a success factor. Stakeholder management can increase the chances of a projects success.

Process Ownership: A Vital Role in Six Sigma Success

A good way to insure success for a Six Sigma project is to get the process owner to buy-in early and stay involved throughout the project. That means letting the process owner be a part of decision-making at the start and tollgate reviews at the end.

Project Management Plays an Important Role in Six Sigma

While Black Belts are technically advanced in Six Sigma, this does not automatically translate to good project management skills. Depending on someone without the right skills to coordinate a project may be detrimental to an improvement effort.

Reflections on Six Sigma: Eleven Reasons It Has Thrived

It has been nearly 20 years since Motorola executive Bill Smith coined the phrase "Six Sigma." This makes one ponder why it has been so successful. Here are some personal reflections on Six Sigma's success and longevity from a veteran practitioner.

Resource Page: Change Management

A successful change management strategy can be the most important aspect of a Lean Six Sigma initiative. iSixSigma has gathered its best resources on the topic here.

Roadblocks to Implementation

There are many reasons for detours during your project journey; unfortunately, many of these are unpredictable. Some of the best lessons are the ones we have to learn the hard way.

Safeguard Against Four Forms of Six Sigma Opposition

Practitioners typically encounter four types of resistance to Six Sigma: technical, political, organizational and personal. To resolve these negative forces, they must understand its root cause and then adjust their deployment strategies accordingly.

Set SMART Goals to Better Manage Time

Time management is a common sore spot among Six Sigma practitioners. Many feel an imbalance between time spent on daily responsibilities like Six Sigma projects and their personal life. Luckily, DMAIC can help them keep tasks and priorities in check.

Six Anchors to Make Change Stick

Change, like anything, is a process. All processes must have components that anchor them in place. To make change stick, Black Belts should follow these six critical anchors.

Six Sigma Culture: Better Processes and Problem-Solving

The power of Six Sigma to create a culture of continuous improvement lies in the combination of changing the way work gets done by changing processes, plus educating people in new ways of understanding processes and solving problems.

Six Sigma Presentations: On Target with Minimum Variation

Presentations are something every level of Six Sigma practitioner must do. However, many face their initial effort with a lot to say but without a lot of experience in saying it. So what is a novice presenter to do? In a single word: Practice.

Six Sigma Project Review Sample Agenda

Make successful Six Sigma project tollgate reviews a reality with proper preparation. Learn the the four most important aspects of the project review agenda, and make a milestone checklist out of the options.

Six Sigma Via Context

Some business documents are nearly meaningless due to lack of context. Every quality document should be fully self-contained or reference applicable context elsewhere. Learn more about adding context to your content to achieve exponential gains.

Six Sigma: It’s Not Just a Company’s Processes That Vary

The ideal approach to deploying Six Sigma is to begin by improving current processes, followed by ongoing monitoring and managing of these processes, and eventually establishing process-oriented management. However, successful deployments can vary.

Success of Improvement Initiative Depends on People

Initiatives to improve business processes must be approved, understood and implemented by people. To be successful, a change initiative must not only advocate value-added processes, but also value workers for the ability to carry out these processes.

Successful Six Sigma Project Reviews

Project reviews serve to evaluate the project plan or status relative to the plan initially set forth by the team in the project charter. You as the team leader need to ensure that certain benefits are achieved from the project review.

Sustaining Change Requires Focus on Stakeholders

A Six Sigma initiative – or any change process for that matter – is only successful in the long run if the stakeholders truly adopt and sustain the change. This requires planning and focus and should be an integral component of any deployment.

Teaching Six Sigma Awareness/Methodology in Workplace

In teaching Six Sigma awareness and methodologies in the workplace, it is most important to tell the audience no degree in statistical analysis is needed. From there, just keep it simple and use common, everyday examples to which they can relate.

Ten Ways to Boost Up a ‘Pretty Good’ Six Sigma Program

Many Six Sigma efforts are doing well enough, limping along with casual management support, frustration from underused Belts, and less than earth-shattering savings. The following actions can help turn so-so programs like these into something great.

The Agreement Process: 3 Steps to Achieve Buy-in

Improve your chances of gaining buy-in by following this three-step agreement process.

The Devil’s in the Details (of the Data)

When you want to look at your process from a Lean perspective, it's difficult to analyze the process if you don't know how long each step takes.

The Employee Perspective of the Six Sigma Methodology

But no matter how experienced or how much Six Sigma expertise a project leader or manager has, valuable lessons can be learned by listening to employees tell what they expected of Six Sigma, what actually occurred, and why things did or did not work.

The Initial Focus – Strategy or Projects?

It is difficult to launch change initiatives and even harder to ensure the initiative continues to move in the right direction with long-term results. An abundance of improvement ideas may be the problem. What should the team focus on first?

The Merits of ‘Know-nothing’ Belts and Champions

Six Sigma deployment teams should be like a jury – unbiased. By employing Black Belts and Champions from outside the area that is being improved, organizations will receive a more objective, and, therefore, more helpful guide to process improvement.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

“Transformation” – One of the most overused words of the last decade…and at the same time, one of the most underreported phenomenon happening in the world today.

The Six Sigma Cycle of Change

The Six Sigma cycle of change is hard to begin, but once the wheel of change is in motion it is easy to sustain. In other words, Six Sigma becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Three Steps to Deliver Business Results

Strategy with no action is just an idea; action with no strategy is anarchy. This article explores the three essential steps, and common pitfalls to avoid, for achieving business results.

Too Customer-Centric?

As the menu has evolved over time, in the interest of keeping fresh choices in front of the customer and "giving them what they want," it seems to me that we have also a) increased the selection time needed; b) increased the noise level (all those frappucino mixers!) and c) increased the wait time.

Trailblazing Efforts Drive Strategic Objectives

Trailblazing is a participative, team-based problem-solving process. It targets a key business initiative – customer experience – and focuses employee problem-solving teams on it, allowing associates to make more decisions in favor of the customer.

Turning Management Reluctance into Six Sigma Support

Not every organization is so lucky as to have senior management fully on board from the start of a Six Sigma program. There are, however, a couple of proven ways to turn on management support for a continuous improvement program organization-wide.

Understanding the Impacts of Change

To manage Lean Six Sigma projects, practitioners must recognize the emotional transition that occurs among stakeholders as a result of change.

Using the DMAIC Model to Achieve Buy-in

Actions within the five phases of DMAIC can help to overcome five common forms of resistance to Lean Six Sigma.

Voice of the Business, Customer, Process and Employee

The untapped value of the voice of the business, customer, process and employee have an impact on project selection. Staying in tune with their collective voice can help companies create a more profitable future.

Why Don’t More Leaders Get It? Explanations for Six Sigma – Part 1

Why don't leaders of companies recognize the power of a Six Sigma quality program and the benefits to the company? You may be explaining it the wrong way. Read about these traps and how to avoid them during your next explanation.

Why Don’t More Leaders Get It? Explanations for Six Sigma – Part 2

I've listed three approaches to explaining Six Sigma that I've seen backfire, along with an alternative.

Words of Advice for Frustrated Black Belts

We've all been there before – frustrated with projects, business culture and a lack of support for Six Sigma. Here are suggestions for overcoming Black Belt frustrations.

Yellow Belts: Creating a Corporate Sense of Inclusion

A more general knowledge across an organization may pay bigger dividends than deeper knowledge in fewer Six Sigma experts. Yellow Belt training mitigates potential impediments to improvement and change by creating a sense of corporate inclusion.

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